About What Remains
Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
Source: This book was received from Riptide Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ever read a book that just left you emotionally exhausted but was worth every little bit it sucked out of you. Yeah, this is one of those stories. Not sure what exactly drew me to this one. The amnesia trope isn’t one that has ever pulled me in but something about this description (and let’s admit it – the hotter than sin cover) screamed, “read me!” And I listened.
The prologue immediately draws the reader in and establishes the happy and steady life that Jodi Peters and Rupert O’Neil are already living together. It’s written in a way that kind of makes you yearn for what they have. Even if you already have it. And that yearning makes the reader feel an acute loss when Jodi and Rupert lose everything they have together.
As you can guess, Jodi IS in an accident and, yes, he does lose his memory. But there is more to his injury than that and I hesitate to mention anything else as I don’t want to spoil it. Obviously, his road to recovery is difficult. Especially when he’s a naturally caustic person (yes, Jodi can be a bit of a dick) dealing with the fall out of a traumatic brain injury as well as living with a total stranger. To paraphrase: A strange flat mate that stares at him too much. Not only is recovery seemingly impossible at times, he will never the same way he was before his injury.
The story alternates between Jodi and Rupert’s POV but not evenly. This isn’t an alternating chapter kind of story. Depending on where they are in Jodi’s recovery very obviously dictates who is telling their story. A technique that doesn’t always work but in this instance reads seamlessly.
One of the most painful (and of course my favorite – I’m such a masochist) things about this story is that Rupert’s unwavering love and support is never portrayed as easy. It doesn’t matter which character has taken charge of the narrative or how stoic Rupert remains on the outside. Because his loss is also the readers loss. We saw what they had built together and we saw it taken away…all the best parts removed from his life as if it never existed. Rupert doesn’t have the pain of forgetting. On top of watching the love of his life suffer, he also experiences the pain of remembering.
I’m really selling the angst, aren’t I? Here’s the crazy part. It’s not the kind of angst that requires five boxes of tissues. Not to say you won’t shed some tears. But Rupert’s natural kindness will make you smile and Jodi’s sharp sense of humor will have you laughing your ass off. I sent Bel and Shel a couple Jodi quotes that had them laughing out loud too. So yeah. There is angst but it’s perfectly tempered by other qualities and emotions that make these two main characters amazingly three dimensional.
If you are looking for a miracle or a tidy HEA all neatly packaged and wrapped in a bow, this might not be the book for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy reading about realistic couples navigating real life situations, even the tragic ones, then you need to pick this one up immediately. It’s an excellent addition to m/m contemporary romance that will make your heart hurt and celebrate all in one sitting.
About Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.
To celebrate the release of What Remains, Garrett is giving away $25 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!